Teens who give back – what to do when a young person offers you a gift…

The Christmas rush has begun – ludicrously early, in my view, but it’s definitely underway!

Photo courtesy of ©123RF/Koosen

Photo courtesy of ©123RF/Koosen

So, as our minds turn to buying Christmas presents, I was put in mind of a dilemma that occurs when young people try to give us something back…

What to do when a young person offers you a gift…

Continue Reading »

Apps to help you help teenagers – No.5: KnowDrugs…

When I was a student. I spent a year working in street-based drugs project. What an eye-opener that was!

Photo courtesy of ©123RF/Sereniy

Photo courtesy of ©123RF/Sereniy

Anyone seeking to help troubled young people is going to come across the drugs issue sooner or later.

Are you ready for it? How much do you know?

Here’s a way you can have great information at your finger tips…

The KnowDrugs App… 

Continue Reading »

Apps to help you help troubled young people – No. 4… ZIPIT

Who would send an inappropriate picture of themselves to a journalist?

Well, it happens – a British member of parliament did it just recently!

Photo courtesy of ©123RF/loganban

Photo courtesy of ©123RF/loganban

I’ve written before about the dangers and pressures young people can encounter online. The pressure to send indecent selfies is one.

How can we help young people resist this pressure?…

Continue Reading »

3 little words that can change the client relationship…

It’s amazing how much you can say in just 3 words.  A whole wealth of meaning can take up so little space!

This is why we should use them with troubled young people…

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Devonyu

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Devonyu

No, not those 3 words. These: “I was wrong.”

The power of our fallibility…

Continue Reading »

How to teach empathy to troubled teens: No.1

Over the years I’ve produced dozens of worksheets for use with young people. Some work better than others.

But there are some things you can’t teach by just telling someone about it. Empathy is one of them.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto\ejwhite

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto\ejwhite

When it comes to some of the more complex human qualities, there’s only one way to help teenagers develop them…

How to help troubled young people be more empathic…

Continue Reading »

Apps to help you help teenagers – No.1… MOMO

If, like me, you’re always looking for newer and better ways to help young people, this piece is for you…

Teenagers looking at mobile phones...

Photo courtesy ©iStockphoto/kali9

The young people we work with really are the “digital generation.” They’ve almost grown up online!

So how can we use this to help them?

Apps to help the helpers…

Continue Reading »

Teens & Technology…

It’s an embarrassing question; but have you ever asked a child for help with technology? Go on, admit it. I certainly have!

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/AntonioGuillem

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/AntonioGuillem

My 14 year old son is my first point-of-call for everyday techy assistance.

According to new Ofcom research, 14-15 year olds are the most tech-savvy people in the UK.

The “Digital Generation”…

Continue Reading »

When all is not well – signs a teenager may need help with mental health…

The teen years can be turbulent. It’s a time of great change physically, emotionally and socially.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/lovleah

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/lovleah

So how might we know if a young person is struggling? Not just having a bad day, but really foundering… Here are some signs that it might be time to get some professional help with mental health.

When is it time to call for help?…

Continue Reading »

Why finger-wagging doesn’t work…

Worse than our shame at doing something wrong, is the knowledge that someone we care about is unhappy with us.

Parent telling off a child...

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/_Ella_

This is the case with young people too. They know full well that they’ve done something they shouldn’t have.

But they also know that we, and others, are unhappy about it.

Why our unhappiness is crucial (& dangerous)…

Continue Reading »

Jacob Dowdle’s custard pie…

Photo courtesy ©iStockphoto

Photo courtesy ©iStockphoto/Willsie

I’ve just heard the story of Jacob Dowdle’s expulsion from Altrincham Grammar School.

It made me angry. Angry in an incredulous kind of way.

Why? Because the story went on to explain that he had been arrested, charged with common assault and expelled from school.

His offence – pushing a custard pie into the face of a teacher, as a prank on the last day of school. Then I laughed!

Why charging and expulsion was the completely wrong response…

Continue Reading »

Gang members: hidden victims?…

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/ monkeybusinessimages

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/ monkeybusinessimages

Gangs are a bit scary. Kids in gangs certainly don’t look like victims.

In fact the word “gang” itself evokes images of violent young people, up to no good and creating victims of crime.

We know there’s more to it than that.

For instance gang members have higher than normal rates of mental health issues. But new research suggests that gang-affiliated young people may have a lot more to lose than their mental health.

The hidden victims in gangs…

Continue Reading »

Child runaways…

Child runaway image

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/mandygodbehear

Courtesy of ©The Children's Society

Courtesy of ©The Children’s Society




Growing up, I remember getting pretty naffed off with my parents on occasions. That’s growing up, I guess. That’s family.

But I never felt so bad that I even contemplated running away, much less actually doing it.

Yet every five minutes in the UK, a child runs away. That’s the time it takes to read this blog post.

What do we know about runaways…

Continue Reading »